'Big Blue Live' a boost to region for months to come
Just how big was "Big Blue Live" for the Monterey Bay region?
Its impact on business in the region is just beginning to be gauged, reports The Herald, but by all indications, it is big.
Adventures by the Sea, which has been in business for 28 years, saw a bump of 20 percent in revenues for the month and expects to have its best year ever. The company, which rents bikes, kayaks and paddleboards from five locations, handled the transportation needs of the PBS/BBC production crews in addition to providing bike and kayak rentals. The company also took members of the production teams on hiking tours into Garrapata State Park.
The visibility is priceless.
“The social engagement has been crazy,” said the Monterey Convention and Visitors Bureau's John David Van Kirk said. The hashtag #BigBlueLive garnered over 1.38 billion impressions, and over 5,900 posts were tagged with #BigBlueLive.
More than 5,000 entered the bureau's "Big Blue Live" sweepstakes — a trip for two to Monterey Bay. “Our traffic increased 85 percent on that page,” for the Aug. 28 through Sept. 3 time period.
With so much attention focused on the Monterey Bay and its sea life, people want to be out on the water to experience it themselves.
One local whale-watching tour operator reports being busier than ever, even with a new vessel, and hotels are seeing plenty of business.
In Pacific Grove alone, $230,000 was spent on lodging, according to Moe Ammar, president of the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce.
Most of the BBC crew stayed at Asilomar Conference Grounds with overflow going to other hotels and inns around the area.
The city's restaurants and shops saw a huge influx of patrons from the production teams.
“In terms of exposure, this is the largest thing ever … bigger than MotoGP or the U.S. Open,” said Ammar. The chamber president envisions throngs of tourists coming to the Peninsula to experience the bay for themselves and boosting business for months, if not years, to come.
Read the full story online.
Source: Monterey County Herald
Uber to begin service at Monterey Regional Airport
Monterey Regional Airport (BCM) has reached an agreement with Uber allowing the ridesourcing company to operate legally at the airport. The agreement will go into effect on Oct. 1, 2015.
Monterey Regional Airport is the smallest airport in the state of California with an Uber permit and will serve as the model for other small airports going forward. The operating permit applies to all UberX drivers.
"We have rapidly expanded Uber’s service to airports throughout California this summer and we are thrilled to kick off the fall by adding the Monterey Regional Airport to that list. Thanks to the leadership of the Monterey Peninsula Airport District Board, travelers will now have access to Uber’s safe, reliable rides, making this great airport even more convenient,” said Wayne Ting, Uber Bay Area General Manager.
“Our passengers want options. We are pleased we could reach an agreement that provides our passengers with an additional choice for ground transportation,” said Mike La Pier, Executive Director, Monterey Regional Airport.
Read more about Uber here.
MCBC's Eggs & Issues returns
"Eggs & Issues," the Monterey County Business Council's popular morning series, returns from its hiatus with an informative breakfast forum on "Developing & Refining Your China Strategy," from 7:30 a.m.-9 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 24 at Bayonet & Blackhorse. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at door, with continental breakfast included. Make your reservation online now or email MCBC Executive Director Brian Turlington or call (831) 216-3000.
Eggs & Issus is a quarterly breakfast gathering of interested persons from business, professions, government, and not-for-profits that are concerned about key issues affecting the economic health of Monterey County and are looking for solutions. Each breakfast is devoted to a different topic; future topics will include cybersecurity, an inssue of of paramount economic importance to Monterey County.
This month's presentation, "Developing & Refining Your China Strategy," will be led by Ashley Beleny, partner and co-founder of U.S.-China Trade Advisors, a boutique consultancy specializing in commerce between the United States and The People's Republic of China.
Among other things, Ashley will discuss importing and exporting compliance issues regarding China.
As trade continues to grow between China and the U.S., many U.S. companies are looking to explore and expand business opportunities across the Pacific. Others are already working with Chinese companies and struggling with communications, cultural barriers and trade and transactional issues on a regular basis.
US-China Trade Advisors helps businesses navigate the culture, policy and business challenges they may face in their U.S.-China business exchanges.
Beleny has been working with China since 2008 for companies in both China and the U.S.. This includes leading consulting teams, conducting international trade for a Chinese SOE, and representing a US company in China. Her work crosses the marketing, health products, green tech, environment and agricultural industries. Ashley is also President of Environmental Relations PR, which she founded in 2010.
She holds a Masters in International Trade Policy and a Masters of Business Administration in International Management from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. She also earned a BA in International Relations & Diplomacy from The Ohio State University.
In advance of the breakfast, take a moment to complete a brief 15-question survey. Even if you are unable to attend, we would appreciate your feedback.
To find out about sponsorship opportunities, contact MCBC Executive Director Brian Turlington at (831) 582-3235 or via e-mail.
A toast: Monterey's Pinot Noirs top Wine Spectator rankings for three years in a row
We all know how good Monterey County's wines are. Apparently, Wine Spectator, one of the most esteemed names in the wine industry, does too:
For the past three years, Pinot Noirs from the Monterey region drew the highest accolades of any California Pinot Noirs, outscoring other notable California pinot-producing regions such as the Anderson Valley, Carneros, Santa Barbara and yes, even Sonoma.
In particular, the wine publication celebrates the 2012 vintage of Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noirs.
Check out Wine Spectator's chart online, then make plans to visit your local tasting room or wine retailer to see for yourself.
Photo courtesy of Monterey Wine Country™.
Salinas Valley water issues in the spotlight
Water is certainly a major issue everyone in the West, but the Salinas Valley is faring much better than other California growing regions, according to a lengthy Los Angeles Times article this week.
The story, entitled "Salinas Valley's thriving crops mask fears over the area's lone water source," describes it as "a place that has seemed to be immune to the state's pervasive drought."
"For Rick Antle, the shortage in his fields this summer is of workers, not water. Harvest machines roar to life as 2,000 people cut, wrap and pack thousands of boxes of lettuce each day for Tanimura & Antle, a major family-run farm. They could use 120 more workers."
"At a time when lakes have hit bottom, wells have run dry, and farmland 100 miles away in the Central Valley has gathered dust, the Salinas Valley remains an oasis — a green patchwork quilt of farmland unfurling roughly 90 miles along U.S. 101 north of Paso Robles to Monterey Bay, where the Salinas River meets the ocean."
"But the verdant landscape hides long-term troubles with the region's only water source."
"Unlike the Central Valley, which depends on snowmelt transported from faraway reservoirs, the Salinas Valley has prospered for decades relying solely on the groundwater hundreds of feet below."
Just how to ensure that the region maintains an adequate supply of water in its overtapped aquifer — which the California Department of Water Resources calls "one of the most stressed groundwater basins in the state" — is the question facing the Salinas Valley, where agriculture is an $8.1 billion industry.
To deal with demand and the risk of seawater intrusion, the industry has adapted in multiple ways: recycling wastewater, utilizing rainwater capture rafts, switching to drip tape.
"And looming over everything is Gov. Jerry Brown's mandate to form a groundwater sustainability agency by 2017 to regulate pumping. In the Salinas Valley, where agriculture uses about 90% of the water, the question boils down to: Who will control the groundwater basin?
Read the full story online.
Source: Monterey County Herald
MST Trolley extended for weekends year-round
Monterey-Salinas Transit (BCM) will operate the free MST Trolley year-round as part of a one-year pilot program funded by the city of Monterey. Beginning Sept. 12, the Trolley will operate from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends until Memorial Day, when it will resume daily summer service, and will include the Martin Luther King Jr. and Presidents’ Day holidays.
The free MST Trolley departs every 10-15 minutes transporting visitors and locals between downtown Monterey, Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row, and The Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership names Kate Roberts as new president
The Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) has named Kate Roberts as its new president. Roberts replaces Jennifer Dossett, who is leaving MBEP to pursue other opportunities.
As president, Roberts will lead MBEP’s efforts in job creation, economic development, and sustainability, as well as work with the board of directors on the strategy and key initiatives of the organization. “We are pleased to welcome Kate as our new President. She brings a broad range of private sector and non-profit experience to MBEP and will provide dynamic leadership to the organization,” said Bud Colligan, Co-Chair of MBEP. “I’d like to thank Jennifer for her role in the early days of MBEP and wish her well in her future endeavors.”
“I am honored to have been selected for this role,” said Roberts. “MBEP is an important regional player in helping foster job creation, catalyze opportunities for the region and convene groups to get to ‘yes’. I’m pleased to be able to contribute to the economic vitality of the region by being part of this amazing organization.”
Before joining MBEP, Roberts was Founder and CEO of The Wired Woman, an independent management consultancy, where she used analytic rigor, structured thinking and actionable approaches to help her clients solve problems, achieve goals and get stuff done. Prior to running her own consultancy, Roberts spent over 20 years in the high tech industry where she held leadership positions in sales, marketing, partner management, and corporate social responsibility. She spent a decade at Cisco Systems, Inc. leading strategic initiatives and creating successful partnerships with the United Nations, USAID and other global partners to further tech education and workforce development in the developing world.
Roberts’ varied nonprofit board experience spans both the social and environmental spectrum at the regional and national level. As a volunteer ambassador with Save the Children, she led a women's empowerment delegation to Ethiopia and Uganda, and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with CARE to raise funds and awareness for their community-based programs in Tanzania and Zanzibar. She is an active community member, serving on several local boards, and is also the producer of the annual One Billion Rising Santa Cruz, which brings together local nonprofit organizations working to end violence against women.
Salinas firm steps up to help Acosta Plaza park project move forward
The generosity of a local company will help restore the anticipated Acosta Plaza park project to a level playing field.
Alco Water Co. has stepped up to help keep the park project moving forward. Alco President Tom Adcock said the company will remove 600 cubic yards of dirt from the project site. The base rock mixture of ground dirt, rock and asphalt was deposited there for presumed use with construction of the planned basketball court.
But the state Water Resources Control board has denied its use: Since the proposed park is in a flood plain adjacent to Natividad Creek, no dirt can be added to the site, officials said.
This left project organizers scrambling to find the money to pay for the removal of what amounts to 33 truckloads of dirt.
Volunteers from the east side community poured their sweat equity into the Acosta Park project in pre-construction improvements to the one-acre site, in a neighborhood without a single park or recreation facility.
Volunteers and project organizers have jumped through several bureaucratic hoops to realize their dream park, raising nearly $100,000 toward the project. Construction was to begin Aug. 17 until the pile of dirt created yet another hurdle.
Adcock's plans to remove the dirt free of charge will saves the project the $40,000 it would cost to have the dirt removed by a contractor.
He plans to use it to improve some roadways at its many facilities around the Salinas area. It would make “a nice solid base for some roads in a couple of locations,” he said.
Source: Salinas Californian